Originally Published: February 26, 2010 9:55 p.m.
The Community Anti-Drug Coatlition of America named MATForce, the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition, one of three Coalitions of Excellence for 2009.
The award recognizes MATForce's success in reducing the demand for illegal substances and increasing opportunities for treatment of addiction.
Yavapai County experienced an unprecedented drop in methamphetamine offenses, violent crimes committed while under the influence of methamphetamine, and property crimes associated with methamphetamine such as identify theft, trafficking in stolen property and forgery, Polk said.
Felony offenses in Yavapai County decreased by 30 percent between 2007 and 2009, Polk said.
"This is a huge honor for our community," said Sheila Polk, Yavapai County attorney and MATForce co-chair. "CADCA is the nation's leading drug abuse prevention organization, representing more than 5,000 community anti-drug groups. Speaking for MATForce, which represents hundreds of local community volunteers and members, we are deeply honored. Our hard work paid off."
Doug Bartosh, MATForce co-chair and Cottonwood city manager, and Merilee Fowler, MATForce program manager, traveled to Washington, D.C., in February to receive the award before 1,500 national coalition members, who braved the Washington blizzard to attend the CADCA 20th annual National Leadership Forum.
Ret. Army Major General Arthur T. Dean, CEO and chairman of CADCA, presented the award to Bartosh and Fowler.
"The selection of MATForce for this award is an indication of the tremendous efforts put forth by your coalition to address local substance abuse problems," Dean said. "We are very proud of your accomplishments."
"It was a tremendous honor to receive the award on stage by Major General Dean. The award was in the Milestone category, honoring MATForce as a newer coalition that has made great progress in less than five years," Fowler said. "CADCA even prepared a video of our coalition projects that was played on a 20-foot-high screen for the audience."
MATForce, a non-profit coalition founded in 2006, initially focused on the skyrocketing methamphetamine problem in Yavapai County. Since 2006, MATForce has expanded its mission to include all illegal substances, including underage drinking.
Congress established CADCA's National Coalition Institute to increase the capacity and effectiveness of community anti-drug coalitions. CADCA builds and strengthens community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events. The institute helps coalitions achieve measurable results, improve evaluation methods and implement evidence-based practices.
For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org.